Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night (nor COVID) stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.
When you receive a piece of mail on the UCSB campus, you may not think much about what it took to get that item to you. However, behind the scenes, the UCSB Mail Services staff are working diligently to route mail to our students, faculty, and staff as quickly and efficiently as possible. Mail Services provides an essential link between the US Postal Service and the campus community via the campus Central Mail facility and the UCen Post Office. In addition to serving the student population and distributing USPS mail and parcels, Mail Services also processes “intra-departmental” mail deliveries between campus departments. This volume of deliveries requires six campus mail routes and 156 delivery points on camps each day. Mail Services prepares and processes an average of 162,000 pieces of University mail per month!
The Mail Services Team leverages technology, training, and organization to provide top notch service to their campus customers. For example, Departmental deliveries are divided into strategic routes and narrowed into 10 minute arrival windows. Arrival times are scanned on an app at each delivery point which allows for better communication around deliveries. Package tracking software logs the location of a package at each point through the arrival on campus to the signature of the recipient. Recent updates to the UCen Post office have overhauled its staging and organization procedures to allow for faster retrieval of packages, reducing the wait time for a package from 3-5 minutes to 2 minutes or less. In addition to improved processes, comprehensive training for student and career staff is important to the mission of Mail Services. In fact, each career staff member of UCSB Mail Services staff holds the credential of Mailpiece Design Professional (MDP), under the US Postal Service. This certification is valid for two years and requires re-testing as a requirement for renewal. According to Distribution & Logistical Services Manager Jim Hernandez: “It signifies that the person certified has an in-depth understanding of US Postal Service mailing requirements, standards and of USPS products & services. Training of this depth denotes the Mail Services staff’s commitment to providing distinguished and superior mail support to the UCSB campus and staff.”
Delivering mail on a college campus comes with unique challenges. Unlike the general population, the majority of the student population changes their mailing address every year. This annual multitude of forgotten or delayed student address updates can create a heavy workload while staff work to correctly route mail to recipients. New challenges have been presented due to campus changes caused by COVID-19. When instruction changed to a remote format, many students left their mail behind when they departed from campus. Over 2200 student letters and packages have now been forwarded by Mail Services to the student’s permanent home addresses. And although the volume of 1st Class US Mail has fallen since the emergency began, package and freight volume has increased, as Mail Services accepts ground and freight deliveries that were previously delivered directly to individual campus departments,
As the campus community faces unprecedented changes, it is certain that the essential and hardworking staff of Mail Services will be up to the challenge. It is apparent that they live up to their credo: “Service, Quality, Excellence.”
By Camille Locklear